Conquering Lion Yoga with James Hall at Greenhouse

James Hall
James Hall

On Thursday I finally went over to the “Conquering Lion Yoga” class at Greenhouse. The name was of course interesting, but I’d been a little scared that the instructor’s bio (listing somewhat unrelated experience as a wardrobe supervisor and costume designer on Broadway) might lead to some Jazz Hands and drama. Happily, that was not the case; he was quite grounded and warm. Although there was Michael Jackson and plenty of club music for our soundtrack.

According to founder Kelly Morris, “Conquering Lion Yoga maintains that the highest spiritual practice is the cultivation of the altruistic intention to attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. This ground-breaking method of yoga reunites two magnificent lineages that were once One:

  • the Indian yoga tradition of Asana, Vinyasa and Bhakti and
  • the Tibetan yoga tradition of Renunciation and Bodhichitta, grounded in correct worldview.”

(bullet points mine)

This philosophy was actually expressed in the class we started and ended with meditations dedicating our practice to something larger than ourselves, some good we wished to see in the world. It was nice to have a challenging, athletic class with a lot of heart.

Sequencing was beautiful, if a little light on the warmup (I personally was not ready for Bridge / Rock Star about four poses in). I loved this section, which had the flowing grace of a Moon Salutation:

  • Down Dog
  • left foot forward to Low Lunge
  • right arm swings down and back, front leg straightens, to Triangle
  • torso tips up and back to Reverse Triangle
  • right arm swings down and forward, front leg bends, to Extended Side Angle

I also appreciated a few of the philosophical reminders: not to get too caught up in the highs and lows of ‘I like this, I don’t like that’, which should dissipate the more we practice, and to remember Patanjali’s warnings against laziness, the yogi’s biggest obstacle.

A brand-new beginner was actually turned away before class, as he also had a rotator-cuff injury, and a basics class was strongly recommended until he agreed. Nice to see safety reinforced; in an advanced class where they are calling out the names of poses and no more, it’s definitely not safe for new students.

Overall, I enjoyed it, and wished I’d convinced my friend to come. It was a nice class to clear the fall slugs away.